Like so many secret spaces of New York City, this one-room exhibit space (hidden inside an abandoned elevator) is not exactly on the beaten path.
This pop-up project is naturally camouflaged, set behind a pair of rusted metal doors along an inconspicuous alley between a pair of dull gray block walls. Only a few small rectangular punched openings suggest that something might lurk beyond the black steel.
Behind its unmarked entry lies a surprisingly pristine white room lined with red-padded shelves. These in turn support an array of contents, many of which city dwellers may find strangely familiar.
The Elevator Museum‘s collection sports a sampling of everyday urban objects, from discarded coffee cups and potato chip bags to tip jars, found dollar bills and losing lottery tickets.
The exhibits rotate, however, between temporary pieces and a permanent collection featuring some seriously unique and one-off objects. The latter includes the shoe infamously thrown at President George W. Bush during a televised 2008 press conference.
The museum founders Alex Kalman, and brothers Benny and Josh Safdie “want [the] museum to relay the intimate stories behind strange, colloquial items, finding beauty in absurdity.” To construct their secret museum, “the team gutted the shaftway [at the ground floor] and renovated it to include lighting and shelving.”
It has operating hours, but like most things in NYC, it is worth dropping by any time of the day or night: “Glass peepholes at the door allow passersby to marvel at the collectibles 24/7, and for those visitors who miss the museum’s opening hours, a toll free hotline has been developed that relays information about each exhibited artifact via phone. The 60 square-foot, free museum also accommodates a cafe and shop. It is a fitting microcosm of the essence of New York City, an unusual myriad of characters, quirks, and curiosities congregating in extremely small spaces.”